Wednesday, September 23rd, Month 7 of our Covid-19 Experience.

3 days until departure and it’s all kicking off again!

The Numbers

The number of infections has risen dramatically since I last wrote. Experts say it is doubling every week and if we don’t do anything to stop it we could have ten’s of thousands of new cases every day by mid October. There were 37 deaths yesterday, and 4,926 new cases.

Globally, there have been almost 32 million cases and almost 1 million deaths.

The News

We’ve officially moved back up to Level 4 and increased restrictions are being put in place. Last week Birmingham and Solihull were placed in a kind of new local lockdown. This essentially banned people from meeting other people from different households in private homes or gardens. The rest of the country were banned from meeting anywhere in groups larger than six.

Yesterday though, Boris addressed the nation again and announced even more restrictions. Masks are going to be compulsory pretty much everywhere indoors, for everyone. Although people can still go to pubs and restaurants, they now have to close at 10pm. People are being asked to work from home again, if they can, and all the steps that have been taken towards easing lockdown, are being cancelled.

Testing has been a shambles, with long queues at walk-in and drive-through testing centres and results taking days to come back. The government has admitted that demand is outstripping supply.

The New Way of Life

I’ve been so tense over the past couple of weeks it been killing me. With regard to my biggest fears:

The UK is deemed “high risk” by Barbados and we have to stay at the airport until we test negative, or go into the quarantine facility when we arrive.

So far, we are still allowed to travel but the rules have been tightened up a bit. Now, before you can board the plane, you must have a negative test, performed by a clinician, within 72 hours of arrival (previously this was departure).

This has meant that we now have to drive to Cirencester tomorrow to have the tests done then, to ensure that they get to the lab in time and avoid paying an extortionate price for a same day tracked courier, we are driving to Cambridge to drop them off ourselves.

It’s a hassle but its worth it for the peace of mind. We will get our test results in time and we can be reasonably confident that everyone else on the plane will not have the virus.

We catch the virus before we leave and are not able/allowed to travel at all.

3 days to go and so far so good. We have been isolating and been very careful so this is becoming much less of a concern now.

We catch the virus en route and are quarantined on arrival.

Still a possibility, but the new rules make catching it on a plane less likely. We have got masks, plastic face shields, gloves, hand sanitiser, santising wipes for the journey and we are hearing that airports are generally very quiet at the moment.

We have also agreed that if the worst happens and we are asked to quarantine on arrival, we will consider the “quarantine hotel” option, if we can afford it. We don’t fancy the government facility at all.

Birmingham goes into lock-down and we can’t hire a car to get us to the airport.

It doesn’t look as if this is going to be problem now. Very little can change between now and Saturday and the car is already booked. We pick it up on Friday.

Phew! The closer we get the less likely anything can go wrong, barring the flight being cancelled or Barbados closing their borders to us.

So, tomorrow is test day, Friday is final packing and picking up the car, then we are up at 4am on Saturday, to leave at 5am and drive down to Heathrow to drop the car and check-in at 7.30. Fingers and toes all crossed!

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